Naomi Weisstein

Biography of Naomi Weisstein

Naomi Weisstein (born 1939) is the daughter of Mary Menk and Samuel Weisstein. She is a Professor of Psychology, neuroscientist, and author. She graduated from Wellesley College, Phi Beta Kappa, in 1961 and received a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1964. In 1964, she took a post-doctoral fellowship at the Committee on Mathematical Biology at the University of Chicago. She taught at University of Chicago, Loyola University in Chicago, and at the State University of New York at Buffalo until the early 1980s, when she was stricken with chronic fatigue syndrome, which has left her bedridden. She is married to radical historian Jesse Lemisch.

Naomi Weisstein is Guggenheim Fellow and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Psychological Society. She has written over sixty articles for such publications as Science, Vision Research, Psychological Review and Journal of Experimental Psychology and served on the boards of Cognitive Psychology and Spatial Vision. Along with Phyllis Chesler, Joanne Evans Gardner, and others, in August 1970 Naomi founded American Women in Psychology, now Division 35 of the American Psychological Association.

She is probably best known for her pioneering essay, "Kinder, Küche, Kirche as Scientific Law: Psychology Constructs the Female." The title is taken from the German slogan Kinder, Küche, Kirche meaning children, kitchen, church, describing what the Nazis believed was the proper domain of a woman. She has written extensively on science, feminism, culture and politics. "Kinder, Kirche, Kuche" is characterized as having started the discipline of the psychology of women, and has been reprinted over 42 times in six different languages.

Weisstein is an outspoken feminist, who has written that she encountered sexism at every turn when she applied for teaching positions. She has a sense of humor, and was one of the early feminist stand-up comedians. She also organized the Chicago Woman’s Liberation Rock Band "to shake up the sexist world of pop music."

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